|Uber is ready to serve customers who are willing to pay more for good service|
|Many complain about Hong Kong taxi drivers' bad habits|
This is what the taxi driver associations are angry about, because they are paying around HK$7 million each for their licenses while these Uber drivers are not.
However, upon hearing about the arrests, there was an online petition that garnered 50,000 signatures supporting Uber, and lots of comments in local newspapers from residents tired of putting up with cab drivers who refuse to pick up passengers, smell lingering cigarette smoke, charge exorbitant fees late at night, and so on.
Surely there is room for two services, one of which people need to pay more for better service? Some customers like to be picked up in a Mercedes, others just want to ensure they have a ride after a concert where thousands of people are waiting in line for a taxi.
Uber North Asia general manager Sam Gellman is keen to sit down with the government to hash out some kind of agreement.
|Uber's Sam Gellman keen to work with the government|
The Hong Kong government, via Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, says there should be "legal space" for Uber to continue to operate in the city.
Gellman says safety is a top priority for the taxi-hailing app, which is why the drivers go through an extensive background check and every ride is covered by insurance.
He seems optimistic something will be worked out in the end for Hong Kong, citing the successful adaptation of Uber into transportation regulations and licensing schemes in 54 jurisdictions in the United States, Mexico City and the Philippines.
Yuen says the Justice Department has yet to lay charges on the Uber staff and drivers, as the police are still investigating... but shouldn't the government have done its due diligence work on Uber before allowing it into the city? Seems strange for it to investigate one of its star clients...
Nevertheless, the fight between Uber and Hong Kong taxi drivers continues and public opinion seems to side with the former.
I have yet to try the service, and have heard about some hits and misses, but overall seems like it wouldn't hurt to drive a little competition in Hong Kong -- isn't that what this city is about -- choice?